Huawei FreeClip Review verdict: despite looking weird Huawei’s latest open-fit buds work well as a Shokz alternative in the Philippines, though don’t expect the same stellar audio quality as their other audio products because of its unique design.
- Once it clips on, it stays on
- Automatically knows which side is which
- Stellar battery life
- No need for silicone tips, this will fit all ear sizes
- Audio quality takes a hit because of the design
- No ANC
Huawei’s taking a swipe at bone-conducting headphones offered by companies like Shokz with their new open-fit FreeClip TWS. The FreeClip is unique in its looks and functionality compared to what’s available in the market, which is both good and bad depending on your opinion of its overall design.
Huawei FreeClip Review Philippines: Design
The Huawei FreeClip comes in the standard pebble-like charging case that the brand’s other TWS has used over the years, and anyone who owned a pair of wireless buds from the company already has a good idea of its layout. There’s a Type-C port on the bottom for charging, and a small button on the side resets the Bluetooth connection and gets the buds ready for pairing.
Once you open the enclosure though, you’ll see two very unique-looking buds. There are two parts to the design: one is the sphere end where the sound comes out, with the other, bean-shaped end holding the touch-sensitive parts as well as the battery and other electronic bits.
Holding the two parts together is an extremely tough Ni-Ti shape-memory alloy that is flexible enough to fit around your ear but is tough enough that it won’t break with repeated use.
Using the clipping of the headphones for the first time felt weird and a little odd, especially since you have to angle them down a little bit to get a secure fit around your ear. Once there though it proved surprisingly resilient to my movements. I found it extremely comfortable to use, and the fit is good enough that I don’t even bother to remove them when I go to sleep if I want to listen to music or white noise when I hit the sack.
Unfortunately, the FreeClip’s design is a little polarizing since it looks like you’re wearing earrings, especially when viewed from the front. That’s fine for most 20-something zoomers, but it looks very odd on a 42-year-old man.
Huawei FreeClip Review Philippines: Software and features
The Huawei FreeClip has several touch-sensitive areas – the bean-shaped base, the stem, and the spherical speaker. There are two default touch gestures – double-tap to stop or play your music and triple-tap to skip to the next track. You an customize more gestures in the AI Life app, though take note you’ll have to download it on Huawei’s own website since it doesn’t show up in Google Play.
What’s really cool about the FreeClip is that it automatically (and correctly) detects which one is on your left ear and which one is on your right. Since both buds can go to either ear, this feature feels very slick.
The FreeClip is very light and is IP54 certified, so it can take a bit of water being splashed on it. It’s not water resistant though, so please don’t take a bath with this on.
Because of the open-ear nature of the FreeClip, you’re not robbed of your situational awareness, which means you can still hear cars, bikes, and the people around you. This makes the FreeClip the perfect headphones for people who run, bike or commute to work.
Huawei FreeClip Review Philippines: sound quality and battery
So, how exactly does Huawei’s funky open-fit earphones sound? Well, they sound better than what I expected, though don’t expect mind-blowing levels of audio quality here. The open-fit nature of the device means that your music will get overpowered if there’s enough ambient noise around (which is the point, I guess) even at max volume.
You can hear the bass in tracks at around 80% volume, which you usually don’t get from bone-conducting headphones that try to deliver the same kind of environmental awareness that the FreeClip does.
There are disadvantages to the design though, the chief of which is sound leakage. Because of the open-fit nature of the FreeClip, there’s quite a bit of sound leakage from it to the point that it becomes bothersome to the person beside you, but that only happens when you’re listening to something particularly loud in a quiet room. Keep the volume under 50% and there should be no problems.
As for battery life, Huawei promises a 36-hour runtime with the FreeClip on a single charge. That’s excellent battery life for something as small as this.
Huawei FreeClip Review Philippines: verdict and wrap-up
The Huawei FreeClip is certainly unique and is a great alternative to products like Shokz’s bone-conducting headphones.
Compared to that, the FreeClip delivers overall better sound quality without compromising your awareness, perfect when you’re out running, biking or just commuting. It’s also comfortable to wear for extended periods of time and doesn’t suffer from the same fit problems as your typical TWS.
Huawei FreeClip Review Philippines Price
The Huawei FreeClip is priced at Php 9,999, and will be available starting Feb 2. Pre-orders will get a Huawei Band 7 with every order.